Comma Chameleon

King and/or possibly Queen George

A little while back, a melee broke out in the Indies Unlimited commissary about the differences between British and American styles of punctuation. Commas were being flung about like shoddy garments on a ladies sales rack. Someone almost lost an eye.

This conflict is nothing new. In the last quarter of the eighteenth century, the American colonists sent a letter to the British government. The King “corrected” the placement of commas in the document and returned the marked-up version to the colonies. Later that night, a group of patriots dressed as librarians dumped a shipment of commas into the Boston Harbor.

This action touched off what was known as the Revolutionary War. But must we dwell on the past? Besides, the difference between British and American styles of punctuation is really quite minimal. It’s not as if one of us is using that upside-down question mark, or that thing that looks like the chemical symbol for Adamantium. Continue reading “Comma Chameleon”